Don’t tell Santa about these Christmas cards

(RNS) Card companies are increasingly recognizing the conflicting emotions Christmas, Hanukkah and even Kwanzaa can inspire.

(RNS) It’s mid-December and that means we’re halfway to the finish line on what can be either the happiest or the hardest time of the year, depending on your feelings about the holidays. Card companies large and small are increasingly recognizing the conflicting emotions Christmas, Hanukkah and even Kwanzaa can inspire and are crafting cards accordingly.

Last year, Religion News Service did a roundup of “anti-holiday” cards and turned up a crop of mostly lighthearted, sardonic entries.

This year feels a bit darker. Our hunt for the best anti-holiday cards turned up far more grim candidates featuring depression, greed, isolation and even attacks by wild beasts. So why does this year’s batch seem so Ho-Ho-Hopeless? Is it the negative election rhetoric, the depressing news headlines, the birth of yet another Kardashian?

S. Brent Plate, no stranger to the mix of religion and popular culture, tells us to put things in perspective. The overall message of these cards is: Lighten up!

“I think with all the pseudo-gravitas about red Starbucks cups, the Fox News-fabricated ‘war on Christmas,’ mixed with an all-too-somber ‘silent night/holy night’ that’s been fused with Christmas, people are ready to make the holidays fun again,” he said. “There is this puritanical strain in U.S. culture that turns holidays into straight-laced affairs, but religious feasts and festivals have always had revelry and diversion at their heart.”

So here is this year’s crop of anti-holiday cards. Happy Whatever. Or not. You decide — because there’s a card for that.

"Wolves" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Wolves” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

Party up, and don’t worry about all those holiday bills. You’ll be dead by then. Card by Zeichen Press.

"Close Knit Family" anti-Christmas card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

“Close Knit Family” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

Just another thing to worry about at the holidays — that someday your embarrassing family photos will be on someone else’s “funny” Christmas card. Card by Shannon Martin/Girl Designer.

"Greed" anti-Christmas card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

“Greed” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

Even children get into the anti-holiday spirit. Card by Zeichen Press.

"It's a Girl" anti-Christmas card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“It’s a Girl” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

“It’s a girl,” declare the occupants of this cartoon manger, raising everyone’s eyebrows but Mary’s. She alone looks contentedly down at the baby — Jesusina? Emmanuelle? — in the crib. Card by Noble Works.

"Happy Whatever" card made by Normal Human, based in Kansas City, Mo. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

“Happy Whatever” anti-holiday card made by Normal Human, based in Kansas City, Mo. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

This card, by Normal Human, just about sums it up. Happy WHATEVER.

"Guilt" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Guilt” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

Who says Jews have cornered the market on guilt? Sit! Eat! Enjoy! Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.

"Horror of the Holidays" anti-Christmas card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

“Horror of the Holidays” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

“Oh! The horror!” Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.

"Depression" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Depression” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

A season that seems to start with Halloween and end with Valentine’s Day. Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.

"Latkes" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Latkes” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

This card is talking about YOU. Happy Hanukkah! Card by Paper Epiphanies.

"Dear Timmy" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Dear Timmy” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

And don’t even think about asking for an iPad, Timmy! Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.

"Office" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Office” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

Stupid fat guy! Card by Mina Lee Studio.

"Snowflake" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Snowflake” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

You’ve been warned, Minnesota! Card by Zeichen Press.

"Drinking Santa" anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Drinking Santa” anti-holiday card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

Belly up to the bar, Santa. Card by Edition Inkognito.

"Revenge" anti-Christmas card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston.

“Revenge” anti-Christmas card. Religion News Service photo by Kimberly Winston

Just you wait ’til next year, when there will be even more angry holiday cards! Card by Zeichen Press.

(Kimberly Winston is a national correspondent for Religion News Service)